Friday Faves, Christmas is Nearly Here

How was your week?  It’s been pretty quiet around here. The university is closed now for winter break, many of my neighbors have gone home which led me to reflecting on the ones who will be leaving permanently come May when they graduate.  It will be hard to see them leave as they have become a part of my life now.


I can’t believe it’s almost Christmas. Just 5 more days!  I’ll be back on Monday with a final Frugal Christmas post on last minute solutions.  Don’t forget you can enter the drawing for Eliza’s Quinoa Quookbook  if you reside in the US or Canada.  The drawing will be Monday, entries will be accepted until midnight Sunday. If my dinner from Eliza’s book, the Quinoa Burrito Bowl, piqued your interest, Eliza was kind enough to post the recipe on her blog, check it out and give it a try.

Don’t have time to read right now, you can now save this to pocket and read it later.


Christmas DIY

  1. I love a handmade Christmas, especially when it is the tree that was made.  This tree was made from bed springs and a few other salvaged pieces. Total cost. $0
  2. Cardboard is free and can be recycled so why not use it to make ornaments with the children on these last few days before Christmas. These ornaments by Pink Stripey Socks are adorable.
  3. This next idea while not specifically about Christmas, I couldn’t help adding it and see if anyone reading this would take this idea and run with it for the holidays, Christmas, New Years….Have a bowling ball?  You can make just about anything with it.


Environmental Issues

  1. By now you probably heard that most incandescent light bulbs are banned starting January 1, 2014.  Now is the time to consider what you will replace your old light bulbs with.  Philips has created a new LED light bulb that has a unique design and is expected to retail for under $10 available January 2nd exclusively at
  2. Colorado has always been forward-thinking and often I hear stories of new sustainable builds going up in the state.  Now Boulder, CO has broken with their power company to form their own company.that will lower rates and focus on more renewables.


Simple Living

  1. Have you ever considered downsizing? Dana and her family had the big house in the burbs, two good jobs but weren’t happy with the way things were. They wanted their home to be paid off before they hit 40 and decided to give up the big house and find a new lifestyle.  See the benefits that have resulted from this one decision.
  2. Headmistress at the common room was given a piece of advice she never forgot about the difference between new and used.  See if you agree with the thought.
  3. Simple living, to me, means making do with what you have.  This bar did just that when deciding on materials to build with.  One clue it comes from nature. And see their solution to avoid printing menus.
  4. Here’s a novel idea. When you want something try it on and see how it fits. No this isn’t about clothes, it’s a lesson in knowing what you can comfortably afford.  From that one lesson led this blogger to simplifying her life.


Things to Think About

  1. This article was so eye-opening to me. It’s not often that people open their souls wide enough to share the side of us we don’t like to admit exists. it’s even more rare to have someone put these things about us out for the entire world to read.  In the Bully Too Close to Home, Rachel tells about her relationship with her daughter. Thank you to Joy for sharing this last week, it’s such an important story everyone should read.
  2. At the end of a long day when you climb into bed do you ever give a thought to all the people who made your sleep possible?  This is a lesson about gratitude and the interconnectedness of all people.
  3. Annie Leonard, from the story of stuff, was interviewed recently.  You can listen to the podcast or read the transcript here  Her thoughts are enlightening and entertaining.  At the very end she shares with us if she gives gifts for Christmas.  I like her idea, now to get my loved ones to embrace this.
  4. How would you react if you found someone stole from you? Anger?  Would you want revenge?  This coffee shop had a unique way of responding.  Would you do this?

“My idea of Christmas, whether old-fashioned or modern, is very simple: loving others. Come to think of it, why do we have to wait for Christmas to do that?”  ~~ Bob Hope

Have a wonderful weekend!


  1. You always have such interesting stuff in your Friday posts! I personally LOVE the coffee shop having a food drive for the dude who stole the tips, though my sarcastic side is chuckling just a bit. I have a big “No Solicitors” sign on my front door, that also makes it clear that I do not want companies leaving fliers and other junk that they hand out. But at one point there was a company that kept leaving fliers in my door anyhow. I had half a mind to write them a letter thanking them profusely for providing jobs for illiterate people – because since the sign makes it clear that I don’t want any fliers left in my door, the only explanation must be that the delivery person cannot read! I didn’t write the letter, but I really, REALLY thought about it! :-)

    • Cat, the coffee shop story stuck with me for a few days pondering all the ways that this one gesture might help and how more businesses should think about how they treat theft. One policy I hate around this area is the one that limits students to 2 in a store at any one time and makes them hand over their bags/purses when they enter. It’s not just students who steal so why pick on one demographic. I hate any kind of discrimination.

      As for you no soliciting sign, I think it’s a problem of our times. People don’t even know what that means, most think it means you can’t ask for money ie selling cookies but doesn’t mean you can’t leave fliers. You should have written your letter. :-)

  2. Forgot to mention; we did try some of those weird curly bulbs, but they flicker when turned on. I have a friend with epilepsy and so we don’t use those any more. The lighting was much dimmer, too. ~ Linne

  3. I only heard about the bulbs on the news yesterday. In the new year, the old ones will be phased out. I’m still not sure why. I have two concerns; one is that I’m not sure the new ones will be bright enough and I have no intention of living in a cave. Even incandescents don’t provide enough light for our living room in winter. My Mum is visually impaired and it will be a hardship for her, my Aunty and others.
    The other concern I have is that the new bulbs cost much, much more and I can’t see that fitting into our budgets. I’m planning to buy a stock of the old bulbs and just hope for the best.

    On the brighter side; I read about the coffee shop from your link. I think they are doing a good thing. Some years ago, I was told of a people in Africa (sorry, I don’t remember anymore where exactly). When anyone in a village stole, the villagers got together and gave them items. Lots of items. The thinking was about the same; if a person steals, they are lacking something and the lack needs to be addressed. It might be a material lack, but it might also be an emotional or spiritual lack. In that case, feeling that they are loved begins the healing process.

    I think we worry too much about ‘rewarding stealing’; we need to think more about healing and helping each other. No one knows why that man stole, but we do know there is a reason. ~ Linne

    • Linne, I understand your concern with the light bulbs. When I first tried CFLs the flickering drove my eyes crazy and gave me headaches. Most people couldn’t see it, but my eyes did. I have a combination of CFL and LED in my home now. I prefer the LED to the CFL as the light is more like real daylight. The costs are high for LED especially when compared to the incandescent, but they last so much longer. I think mine are guaranteed for 10 years. Watch for sales, Costco in some areas works with the utility company to offer fantastic deals. I got 3 LEDs for less that $5 because of this partnership. Other utility companies will give you free bulbs, my son just found this out when he moved. He counted how many fixtures he had in his house then stopped at the electric company where they gave him all the bulbs he would need to make the switch.

      The reason the bulbs are being phased out is due to cost. The incandescent ones use so much more power that by switching it will reduce the amount of energy produced to meet our lighting needs.

      I love the story of the African tradition. My first thought when reading the story was that in our society where we punish theft handing the thief a “gift” would be a source of embarrassment to him. So many see stealing to be a game even when they have the financial means to pay for what they want. But after sitting with the story a while and thinking about it, I came to a similar opinion. If we started showing love and a willingness to help those who feel the need to take what isn’t theirs it might go a long way in healing what led them to steal in the first place.

      • Another thought – people tend to react with anger, bitterness, or a sense of having been violated when someone has stolen from them. Deciding that the person is in greater need and holding the food drive or gifting them with items would take the “victims” of the original crime from feeling helpless to empowered and spiritually stronger. I think that would be worth the risk of “rewarding” theft.

        • Jan, that is so true. My first home at 19 was broken into. Only the TV was taken but I felt violated, there was a fear of being in the house until I had checked every nook to make sure I hadn’t interrupted the theft and the person could still be there. After that time it took years to feel my home was safe enough to just sleep without one ear listening for the sound of someone entering.

          In my case it wasn’t someone in need, it was an organized crime ring which I learned when the individual was caught and I had to testify in court which made it harder to feel safe.

          Today I leave my doors unlocked, unless I am going to be out-of-town. I don’t have anything expensive in my home, so if anything were taken I would assume the person needed it more than I did, I also know I could replace anything lost for little to nothing so I wouldn’t be in any hardship. I believe the most expensive item in my home would be my notebook.

          I agree with your assumption, that a food drive for the thief, should I ever be robbed again, would give me a sense of power instead. I also believe strongly that responding with love would prevent future chances of being a victim as those in need would feel able to come to me with their problems and ask for help rather than take it.

          • “Responding with love”, that’s the perfect way to put it!

            I’m so sorry to hear about your previous break-in. It certainly sounds like you’ve come to terms with it over the years, which is wonderful. I don’t think I would feel physically safe in an unlocked house, but as far as belongings go, the things that I have that are the most precious are the sentimental things, and they are less likely to be targets.

          • Well, the robbery took place in December of 1981 so it was a long time ago. As for leaving my house unlocked most of the time, most people in the area don’t even know my apartment exists. :-) Plus I have great neighbors who watch who comes and goes around here. Yes, like you, the things that mean the most to me are sentimental and not worth much for someone to steal.

  4. Another good read, Lois, full of timely information. On the bulbs, we’re slowly switching over to LED and a first for us this year is an artificial tree. For years, we’ve either gotten permits from the forest service to cut down our own or from a tree lot. Now, in our golden years, an artificial tree seems to be easier on the body these days and, hopefully, the wallet in the years to come. Not quite the same, though.

    Wishing you and your family a blessed Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. :-)

    • Pat, I have never liked artificial trees, but then I grew up with live trees we used to cut down ourselves and drag home. They are easier to manage though and you can have them up for weeks unlike a live tree. Do you really have to get a permit to cut down a tree?

      If I don’t have the opportunity to talk with you again before, Have a wonderful Christmas and New Year too.

      • Same here, Lois, we’ve always preferred a live tree for Christmas with the pine smells from the earth. Brings a little bit of heaven inside to be closer to.

        But, broke down and got an artificial tree this year because of the cost of live ones on the tree lots and cutting one down (with a permit) in the National Forest is getting harder. Because they’ve been harvested for so many years, now, you have to hike in quite aways to get the size you would want and haul it back out.

        We’re not in the best of shape these days as when we were younger. Takes a bit out of you. So, this looks like it will work okay with an artificial one.

        Wishing you and your family a blessed Christmas, Lois, and a Happy New Year. God Bless.

  5. Hi Lois.

    I didn’t know about the lightbulb change…I’ll have to look into that one for Canadian usage.

    Thanks again for a bunch of great reads…it’s going to be snowing for the next three days, so plenty of time to get caught up with what’s going on around the old blog-o-sphere :)

    Take care and all the best.


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